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Looking back to the beginning of this year, nobody could know that all of our New Year’s resolutions should have been to just make it through 2020. The pandemic has put many things into perspective, including what should make it to the top of our New Year’s resolutions.

At the top of everyone’s list should be improving our health. The pandemic has made it clear to many of us that an unhealthy body allows illnesses an unfair advantage. For anyone addicted to nicotine, regardless of whether it is in the form of cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, or vaping, kicking the habit should be high on your health priorities.

Once you decide you want to quit, how can you be successful?  There is not one magic method that works for everyone; some people think it is easier to quit all at once, while others prefer to cut back gradually.  Whatever way you may decide, here are some tips for quitting.  First, make a list of why you want to quit – what’s in it for me?  You can use the list for motivation.  Second, try to stay away from other smokers as much as you can for a while.  Being around other smokers and inhaling the secondhand smoke will only make it harder.  Third, find something else to do instead of smoking, like taking a short walk. The urge will pass and walking helps improve your overall health.

Another way to increase your chances of quitting is to join a Quit Now class at the Garrett County Health Department. There are two classes starting in January 2021 and running for 6 weeks each.

  • Tuesday, January 6, at 5:30 p.m. at the Garrett County Health Department in Oakland
  • Wednesday, January 7, at 5:30 p.m. at Northern Garrett Rescue Squad in Friendsville

“This class is totally free, and designed to help you stop using all types of tobacco, including cigarettes, smokeless, and electronic smoking devices,” said Sharon Custer, Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist at the Garrett County Health Department. “Throughout the six-weeks of classes, you will receive resources to help you change your habits, including free cessation aids.”

To promote COVID-19 safety, enrollment is limited in the classes, and all participants must wear a mask. The health department also offers individual counseling and virtual counseling to those who are interested in quitting. If you are thinking about quitting, contact Sharon by calling 301-501-8574, or email her at Sharon.custer@maryland.gov. You can also register online at www.KickingTobacco.com.